Alps Electric Co., Ltd. exhibited the “strap controller,” a neck-strap controller, at the ALPS SHOW 2002, its exhibition event.
A film-type switch is built in the strap, and the device is operated by pinching it. When it is connected to mobile music players, for example, volume tuning, power on/off, and playing/fast-forwarding can be operated by touching it.
It comes in two types: a neck-type and a wrist-type. The company aims to obtain corporate customers through showcasing the product.
The wrist-type controller has three layers of a polyester film, which is 100-micron thick. There are Ag electrodes on the upper-and lower-layer films, and a hole of around 1cm in diameter is located in the middle-layer film. When the user pinches the strap, the electrodes on the upper film and the bottom films touch each other and the device’s switches are turned on.
To adjust sound volume when connected to a player, the neck-strap controller senses a direction toward which the user moves his or her finger on the strap.
Alps Electric realized this by incorporating a thin and long electrode into the controller and applying coating materials, each with differing resistance values. The company is considering a move to apply it as a controller for mobile phones, MD players, and other devices.